Wireless HART standards speed ahead

The HART® Communication Foundation (HCF) announces significant progress in the development of technical standards for Wireless HART Communication. Several key decisions were made when the HCF Wireless HART Working Group met in Singapore (7-9 Nov). Discussions centered on mesh networking, frequency hopping, security/encryption, prototype test results and field trial experiences.

“The Wireless HART initiative will result in a robust and reliable technology that will ensure interoperable products and new connectivity solutions for leveraging the intelligence of HART-smart devices,” says Kelly Orth, Chairman of the Wireless HART Working Group.

“We are on target for completion of draft specifications in Spring 2006. The Working Group voted to use IEEE 802.15.4 RF transceivers for the Physical layer of Wireless HART which allows us to move forward and focus on other layers of the protocol.”

To expedite the completion of the new standard, the Wireless HART Working Group meets each month. The group is coordinating activities with other industry wireless organizations, such as the ISA SP100 Wireless Committee, to ensure continuity and uniformity with wireless standardization efforts currently underway. Users can expect Wireless HART devices to be available at year’s end.

“The HART protocol is a good match for emerging wireless mesh networks in part because it does not place heavy throughput or latency demands on the physical layer,” says Harry Forbes, ARC Advisory Group Senior Analyst. “The HART Communication Foundation is doing good work that will accelerate the adoption of wireless process instrumentation.”

HCF member companies participating in the Wireless HART Working Group include major automation suppliers and leaders in wireless technology: ABB, Adaptive Instruments, Dust Networks, ELPRO Technologies, Emerson Process Management, Endress+Hauser, Flowserve, Honeywell, MACTek, Omnex Control Systems, Pepperl+Fuchs, Phoenix Contact, Siemens, Smar and Yokogawa.

“A Wireless HART standard will provide new capabilities, ensuring seamless solutions for connecting HART devices in a wireless environment,” says HCF Chief Engineer Wally Pratt. “By supporting all three communication channels, 4-20mA analog, standard HART and wireless HART, the HART protocol allows end users to choose the communication paths that best fit their application.”

The HART Field Communications Protocol is the global standard for smart process instrumentation. Seventy percent of all smart process measurement and control instruments installed worldwide each year use HART Communication and the global installed base of HART-enabled devices is the largest of all communication protocols at more than 20 million. Key features of this unique open standard communication technology are – 4-20mA compatibility, ease of use, low risk, and cost-efficient implementation for both users and suppliers.

The HART Communication Foundation is an independent not-for-profit organization providing worldwide support for application of HART technology.  Established in 1993, the Foundation is the technology owner and standards setting body for the HART Communication Protocol. Major instrumentation manufacturers and users around the world support the Foundation. Membership is open to anyone interested in the use of HART technology. For more information, go to www.hartcomm.org.

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